Monday, June 30, 2014

On June 30 - expiration of Republic Act 6657 Aquino and CARP, an obstacle to genuine land reform, CL farmers said

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga-Farmers from the regional group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers Alliance in Central Luzon) and multi-sectoral groups under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Central Luzon (Bayan, New Patriotic Alliance) proclaimed that the implementation of the Republic Act 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and Republic Act 9700 or CARP Extension with “Reforms” (CARPer) has evidently failed and president Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino is actually an obstacle in accomplishing genuine land reform in the region and country.

“We all know who is Aquino, his family and what they did to Hacienda Luisita farm workers, he is a wrong man for a fundamental land reform program,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson. 

The groups said that CARP has betrayed the Central Luzon farmers who are hoping for the protection of the rights to land, instead, the law has been instrumental to big landlords to preserve their control over vast lands and eject tenant farmers and farmer-beneficiaries (FBs).

“Let’s not sound like a broken record with the Hacienda Luisita agrarian dispute, which generally, the Cojuangco-Aquino family outwitting the Filipino taxpayers, the farm workers and kept control over the thousand of hectares of sugar lands,” Canlas said referring to the public funds used by the Cojuangco family to acquire Hacienda Luisita and implementing the stock distribution option (sdo) scheme in 1989.

The group added that by the Cojuangco-Aquino family’s feudal control, they utilized state machineries such as the police and military, particularly during the ill-famed ‘Hacienda Luisita massacre’ on November 16, 2004.  In addition, Jovito Palparan’s ‘reign of terror’ in Central Luzon or the implementation Oplan Bantay Laya in 2005 to 2006.  The groups called for justice for the victims of the massacre as well as the systematic extra-judicial killings (ejk) that followed, namely: (massacre) Jhavie Basilio, Juancho Sanchez, Jesus Laza, Jaime Pastidio, Adriano Caballero, Jun David and Jessie Valdez; (ejk) AMT (Tarlac) peasant leader Marcelino Beltran, Tarlac city councilor Abel Ladera, Fr. William Tadeña, AMC (Pampanga) peasant leader Ben Concepcion, Florante Collantes and CATLU president Ricardo Ramos.

In addition, the groups said that the Cojuangco-Aquino family’s firm Central Azucarera de Tarlac Realty Corp. (CAT Realty) is grabbing about 400-hectares of land in Bayambang, Pangasinan that triggered unrest among residents and farmers from 12 barangays, which were formerly part of the Camp Gregg military reservation during the American colonial period.  Elderly farmers said that the Cojuangco family deployed a private armed group during the 1960s to terrorize the farmers into paying land rent.

“Aquino’s family has a bloody record of repressing farmers who assert their rights to land, thus, his governance is basically a combination of implementing anti-peasant and anti-people program and policies, and repression of those who oppose and protest,” Canlas said.

Amgl and Bayan said that since BS Aquino took the presidency, agrarian reform has been a minor issue, seldom articulated on his speeches and promised no upliftment of the lives of Filipino farmers who are the majority of the country’s population.  Instead, his programs were mainly the continuing CARP, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program based on the World Bank-directed Philippine Dev’t Plan (PDP), liberalization of agriculture and Oplan Bayanihan based on US counter-insurgency (COIN) guide.

“The rising violence in Hacienda Dolores is simply sparked by Aquino’s negligence of poor farmers and promotion of PPP.  His major electoral sponsor, Ayala Land is taking advantage of his presidency to wipe out communities of farmers whose ancestors could be traced back during the Spanish colonial times,” Canlas said.

Since 2011, Hacienda Dolores farmers were violently displaced from their lands and early this year, a farmer was killed by Ayala Land’s security forces and a peasant leader was gunned down by motorcycle riding men in Porac.  Amgl said that the dispute was “licensed” by CARP as Ayala Land’s partner firms Leonardo-Lachenal-Leonio Holdings Corp. (LLL) and FL Property Management Corp. (FL) took advantage of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issuances of exemption and conversion orders in 2005.

Amgl said that CARP has also preserved the hacienda formations in Nueva Ecija as FBs are facing systematic cancellations of certificate of land ownership awards (cloa), certificate of land transfer (clt) and emancipation patents (ep).  The 3,000-hectare land in Fort Magsaysay military reservation is yet to be distributed to farmers, despite the fact that the former president Cory Aquino issued Executive Orders 407 and 448 and the Deed of Transfer between the Dept. of Nat’l Defense (DND) and DAR was signed in 1991.  Pascual Guevarra, a local leader was the first victim of ejk of the Aquino regime who was killed on July 9, 2010.

The groups also warned the people that BS Aquino is also incompetent in resolving the basic needs in the country.
“The climbing prices of rice, food and basic commodities are also weighty during the Aquino regime.  At present, the price of rice has increased by P2 per kg, and the people know that the palatable variety ranges from P45 to P50 per kg.  These are occurring while the farm gate price of palay is nailed at P15 to P17 per kg,” Canlas said.

“The prices of petroleum products are endlessly increasing, putting poor farmers to debt caused by high production costs.  Other sectors are also affected through increasing prices of basic goods, fare hike and other utilities,” Canlas added.

Bayan said that BS Aquino is loyally obedient to US imperialism by implementing neo-liberal policies of liberalization, privatization and deregulation, that mainly instigate the chronic economic crisis the Filipino population is braving.

“Liberalization and privatization of the power industry and other utilities, deregulation of the oil industry, liberalization of local market of rice and other major goods, privatization of public hospitals are all on Aquino’s menu of deliberately putting the Filipino people into poverty and misery,” Roman Polintan said, Bayan-Central Luzon chairperson.

The groups said that Aquino’s regime is an antithesis or the exact opposite of realizing fundamental reforms in the country it seals off the Filipino people’s hope for a better future and national development.  The contingent of CL farmers, with multi-sectoral groups are to march to Mendiola bridge in Manila to demand the end of CARP and BS Aquino’s ouster. 

“If we care about our children and grandchildren’s future, as we face more hospitals and schools being privatized, cost of living skyrocketing, farms and houses being destroyed, our food security being wrecked into pieces, we are morally and socially obliged to demand Aquino’s ouster and end to his anti-people governance.  Our struggle is the light that never goes out and must be irradiated for our country to survive the unending political and economic crises,” Polintan pointed out.

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